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JCOM Abstract

J Clin Outcomes Manage 
2011 Aug;18(8):361-370
Diagnosis and treatment of alcohol withdrawal
Tovar R

Abstract: Objective: To review the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol (ethanol) withdrawal. Methods: Historical overview and evidence review. Results: The prevalence of ethanol abuse and related medical complaints is significant, accounting for as much as 14.3% of U.S. health care expenditures in 1998. The detection of the ethanol withdrawal state can be extremely challenging and can involve the process of rapid exclusion of numerous other similarly presenting disease states. The pathophysiology of ethanol withdrawal can be generally viewed as the opposite of ethanol intoxication at the central nervous system neurotransmitter level. While the treatment of ethanol toxicity is largely supportive, the treatment of ethanol withdrawal is more complex but does address neurotransmitter and neuroreceptor treatment. Benzodiazepines are generally recommended as a first-line pharmacologic approach. Conclusion: Diagnosis and treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome is challenging. Management approaches continue to evolve.

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